How trustworthy is autonomous vehicle technology?

Multiple studies show that American consumers are wary about trusting the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicle technology.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 30,000 people are killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States on an annual basis. In addition, it is human error that is said to be the cause of a whopping 94 percent of all accidents classified as serious. These are facts that South Carolina residents should be concerned about.

Understanding human error

Human error can include actual errors in judgment like miscalculating the amount of time needed to stop before hitting another car. It can also include poor or negligent decision making like getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol or choosing to use a cell phone while actively driving.

Alternatives to human drivers

Knowing how many crashes are caused by human mistakes or decisions, it would seem logical that drivers would be clamoring for alternatives that eliminate these factors. Autonomous cars would seem, therefore, to be highly attractive options to people. However, much research indicates that people aren't quite willing to cede control just yet.

Consumer reluctance to fully autonomous vehicles

The J.D. Power U.S. Tech Choice Study evaluates drivers' thoughts and feelings about a variety of things including autonomous cars. Edmunds reports that between the 2016 and 2017 annual studies, consumer confidence in the safety and reliability of these vehicles dropped among most every age group.

While fewer respondents indicated their willingness to ride in a fully self-driving car, people did show an openness to some autonomous features in cars that they still controlled. Safety-focused features like autonomous braking, self-adjusting lights and back-up cameras were items that drivers said they would even be willing to pay more for to have in their vehicles.

Gartner polled drivers in both the U.S. and Germany and found similar hesitation with more than half of all people saying they would not be willing to ride in a vehicle that was 100-percent self driving. A little over 70 percent said they might think about it but did not commit to being willing to actually do so.

Safety concerns remain top focus

Interestingly, it is concern about safety that is a primary driver in the development of self-driving cars as well as concern about trusting these vehicles. With drivers unsure as to whether or not they can trust the technology not to fail and to appropriately adapt to unfamiliar situations, it remains to be seen when and how people respond as these vehicles become realities.

Accidents may continue for years to come

Even if self-driving cars start taking the road, accidents in South Carolina are likely to still happen. When these situations arise, people should always talk with an attorney to learn how they may seek compensation for their injuries or losses.